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FAQs

Click on the questions from participants to read the answers

Is there any way my name becomes associated with this publicly?

No way. This project is being performed by an ophthalmologist for ophthalmologists. The whole process is governed not only by HIPAA, but also by the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki — Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects. This is a research protocol that absolutely prohibits dissemination of identifying information.

So who’s behind this?

This project is run by Peter R. Kastl, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Ophthalmology at Tulane University. He only teaches now and sees no private patients anymore. He will not be swayed by any optometric threats to his practice. As he says, “Somebody’s got to take the hit.”

Why should I provide any information?

Because you want to protect the public health.

How do I know my information will be kept private?

Because this service to the public is being conducted under the auspices of a research project. Research protocols are much more stringent than HIPAA. The only way any information can possibly be divulged is after a lawsuit, and then probably only to a judge in his/her chambers, and then only after a bunch of appeals.

Why do you need any information more than what happened to an anonymous patient?

For two reasons. First, we may need to show we have real patients and that we didn’t make these case histories up. Second, ophthalmologists in a particular state may want optometrically injured patients to testify to their state legislators and may ask us to help.

What information do I need to provide?

At the very least, provide your name/phone number and your patient’s internal chart number...we don’t need his/her name or contact information. We may need to contact you later. Keep in mind absolutely none of this information will be posted on the website. And we may never contact you. But we do thank you.

What happens to the information I provide?

Dr. Kastl redacts it, removing any identifying features, and then it goes on the website. The original copy, whether a fax, or a transcribed phone conversation, or an email printout, will be given to Tulane’s attorney for the medical school, and it will be placed in a vault. There will be no copies made. Any email will be erased permanently from the Tulane email server.

What if you’re sued?

That’s what we’re hoping for, as we will get public exposure for our efforts. Tulane stands ready to defend this project, starting with our excellent medical school attorney, our outside counsel, and an entire law school.